Toronto – The writing was on the wall probably from day one for Drew Willy. The former Winnipeg quarterback acquired by the Argonauts in a controversial deal following a victory over Hamilton was never going to get an extended stay in Toronto.
Though back in January Willy agreed to restructure his contract those details were completed by now former General Manager Jim Barker. Unfortunately Willy was still going to be paid too much money for being a back-up. So when a new regime enters guys like Willy have a big target on their backs.
Make no mistake about it if Barker and former coach Scott Milanovich were still a part of the Double Blue so would Drew Willy. We’d be hearing words like “experience” and “depth” as justifications for having the former University of Buffalo quarterback on the team.
However the elephant in the room is that the price to acquire said back-up was just too high. Toronto gave up defensive back T.J. Heath as well the #1 overall pick in the 2017 CFL Draft. Winnipeg would use that pick on DT Faith Ekakitie. Given that he is also a local GTA native added more salt to the wound for Toronto.
So the most prudent thing for all parties involved is you agree to separate before things get really ugly. An injury to Ricky Ray is potentially devastating for Toronto. But should Willy falter in his place then not only does the team continue to lose but the organizations and its fan base is reminded of the impulsive decision the former management team made late last season.
Your only recourse is to hand out the pink slip and put some money aka cap flexibility back in your pocket for moves down the road.
Going forward we’re also going to hear about the quality of quarterback still on the roster. Jeff Matthews and Cody Fajardo are now in a dead heat competition for the back-up job. Matthews going 12-15 for 136 yards may have served as the final nail in Willy’s coffin. Fajardo has proven himself at the very least as a 3rd down short yardage option.
The organization is also intrigued by rookies Dakota Prukop and McLeod Bethel-Thompson. Both have played sparingly in the pre-season but have performed well in practice to have as of now their futures not yet decided.
All four quarterbacks are younger cheaper options than Willy. Common characteristics that every organization loves.
But no matter who the official back-up now is Popp and Trestman have put their imprint on this roster. They had no allegiances to any former players. They had no obligations to go on the path of the CFL season with anyone they weren’t comfortable with. They also felt no pressure to do whatever possible to save face on a bad trade.
Today, nobody knows that better than Drew Willy.
Follow Anthony @comicanthony